Award season is nearly upon us and many budding business owners, entrepreneurs or people thinking about setting up a business may wonder what exactly is the point of these awards? Passionate entrepreneur and jewellery lover Jessica Rose tells us about how she has transformed a successful lifestyle business into a growing enterprise set for world domination and the role that winning the Artemis Award -(for most inspirational woman running a business who is aged 25 or under) in the NatWest everywoman Awards, played in this.
To provide context, it's been an uphill struggle and I can't ever forget what I've overcome. After having a tough time at school, dropping out of University, finding out I'm in the bottom 2% of the world in reading due to my severe dyslexia, it was hard to believe I could achieve success. Especially doing it all on my own. And after years of estrangement from my parents, it meant that I'm not used to support or recognition from others. So, receiving the award was an emotional turning point. I was so sure that I wouldn't win, I even bet my friend £100 and had to pay up! ...She went shopping the next day.
Looking back at what my business was just a few short months ago before unexpectedly winning the award, I would say that I was generally happy with how things were going. I run the London Jewellery School which is a centre in London where people from all walks of life can come and learn to make their own jewellery through short, fun and professional classes www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk. Having set up three years ago I was pleased to be achieving a healthy turnover and profit margins with a happy staff team, lots of satisfied students and be in a position to create an ongoing income for myself.
However many things have changed since, which I couldn't say are all down to winning an award but it was certainly a huge catalyst for changing my perspective on my ambition and aspirations. To give an idea, in the past six months my business has been accepted onto two exclusive programmes for high-growth enterprises and have moved into a new studio that is twice the size of our old premises allowing us to offer many more classes to many more people. We have set up and are running our first pilot franchise of the London Jewellery School in Cambridge, soon to be launching a new website for our online courses giving us a global reach, have been offered investment from angel investors, have been shortlisted for three other awards, and I have been commissioned to write a book! The Award has also resulted in significant PR for me and my business, including an interview in Marie Claire magazine, (always nice!) Which isn't bad for six months work! But the real change has been in how I see my business...
The recognition associated with winning not only gave my business additional credibility and great publicity opportunities but it made me rethink what I wanted, why I was doing what I was doing, my vision for the future of the company and what I really wanted to achieve. It was only then that I could make plans for expanding, offering more to our students and reaching out to new customers in innovative but relevant ways. I have definitely caught the entrepreneur bug, no longer satisfied with running a successful business, I want to change my industry and create amazing experiences for people that solve a genuine want or need. YES the NEED to make jewellery is very real - ask any bead/craft/jewellery addict!
I think the key thing here, for me has been confidence. As a young female business owner it can be a challenging and daunting task to get others to listen to you, value your business ideas and respect your contributions. Winning an award like this in such a public way and being presented with it at a glamorous ceremony alongside so many other inspirational business owners, gives a sense of pride and achievement not just for myself but for my whole staff team and everyone who comes to the jewellery school. It made me realize how special the thing that I had created really was and that inspired me to push the boundaries and do all I can to grow and keep working on our vision to 'bring jewellery making to the world'.
As I am sure you can tell, winning this Award has been a life-changing experience for me that I was in no way expecting, my advice to other business owners considering applying for the NatWest everywoman Awards would be to go for it because you have nothing to lose and so much to gain. It may sound like a cliché but winning isn't all that counts. I have met some amazing entrepreneurs and contacts at awards-related events, learnt so much about the world of business and if all else fails the food and champers is always plentiful!
Nominations are now open for the 2013 NatWest everywoman awards, to apply now visit http://www.everywoman.com/ewawards
To find out more about Jessica connect with her on: